In the pedagogical approach pertaining to the Montessori world, the preparation of the environment is a fundamental element and above all is an educational value, especially considering its liberating and constructive dimensions.
A liberating environment, not libertarian, since it involves no pressure or constant stress, but yet based on individual choice, within a range of reasonably designed limits. At the same time it results to be constructive, because it directs the energy of the child and his constant need of interior order, toward a goal defined and tangible.
Essential themes worth to be discussed and considered not only for their conceiving and involving particular aspects of the Montessori philosophy, but also because they let us extend and research on the universal concept of the school environment.
The sensorial learning environment
“For the very young child, the floor is his first desk.
There he exherts the “big” movement, the conquest of space and position, until he manages to perform the more refined movement: the liberation of the hand that becomes intelligence that thinks. Through the experience.”
(L. Mazzetti – D. Cadini, 2015)
The educational environment is a space in which it is possible to learn by doing, because every activity, independent and constructive, allows a kind of movement aimed at a real purpose. This is the essential prerequisite to stimulate the desire for autonomy, to increase the quality of what is learned and strengthen the self-esteem.
The child lives and is educated in every place and at all times: for this, the Montessori environment refuses the concept of fixed space and time schedule and let children experience on their own real life.
In a sensory environment, the child learns through the use and the combination of the senses in the process of thinking. A truly creative process, and to think well, exciting, because it assumes that the child masters the space and feels free to modify it.
Everything speaks his language: the furniture becomes stories and lead him across the experimentation; light guides his attention and helps him in the discoveries; the walls, the floor and the ceiling become desks and elements from which receive more stimuli.
The child’s ability to concentrate
The order in space is one of the fundamental conditions of the Montessori environment, because it is a prerequisite to the construction of the interior order of the child.
Through order the child acquires knowledge of the environment (he finds its references, gets oriented, and moves safely) but above all he gains self-consciousness and its position in space.
In this way, the child -safe and in harmony with the environment- focuses easily and without hesitation.
The balance of the proportions between objects, furniture and space make the child ready to discover the error and indipendently correct himself: a process that enhances his feelings of trust and security.
Also for this purpose it is therefore necessary an organization of spaces that results articulated, full of ‘quiet’ corners, in which children can work, think, imagine according to their own pace and inner rhythms. In fact, as Maria Montessori wrote, “there is no social environment, in which there are not individuals who have different needs at different levels“.
The comfort of the educator
If it is true that the child deserves to play the role of the real protagonist, it is also true that the educator, in order to do his job properly, needs to be equally in harmony with the space! Therefore Flowerssori has studied a special ergonomic of the chairs that is suitable even for the adults.
The backrest of the chairs is conceived so as to be high enough to effectively support the back of the adult, who thus can sit comfortably next to the baby, supporting him, in case of occurrence, in its activities.
The whole Flowerssori project concerns a desire for harmonization of the space shared between adult and child.
Let’s think about it well: we could build the most beautiful school in the world, display the spaces with the most appropriate furnishings, set each incredible stimulus for the baby, but if the educators do not feel at ease, all this attentions will be partially efficient.